Artisan Blog

Interview Questions Every Employer Should Ask

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

 

 

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years of creative staffing & recruiting. Over the years we've learned a lot and will share our experiences with you in our 20/20 series:

20 blogs celebrating 20 years of creative recruiting! 

 

Whether you’ve been interviewing candidates for a long time or hiring your first employee, you’ll probably agree that the interview is the most important part of the recruitment process. Therefore it’s critical to ask the right questions.

While our version of the Proust Questionnaire offers a few out of the box questions (designed to see how creative they can be), here are a few tips and questions every interviewer should be asking:

 

  • Tell me about yourself. – This type of open-ended question is a great way to start your interview and put your candidate at ease. It should be easy to talk about yourself! It also gives you an opportunity to witness both confidence and communication skills first hand.

  • Describe a time when something went wrong at work and how you dealt with it. - This question is ideal for learning about how your potential hire will handle the pressures of life and conflict resolution, as well as demonstrating problem solving skills and culture fit.

  • How would others describe you? – This is a great way to ask the “strengths” and “weaknesses” question without actually asking it. It also provides some insight into how your working relationship with the potential talent might be. Does the answer describe a person that would fit well within your organization?

  • What role do you usually play in a team? - The answer to this question should compliment the previous answer – is the way your coworkers see you the way you actually perform on the team? This question also provides insight on personality and autonomy.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years? – The perfect question for uncovering candidate motivations, answers help determine whether your company and the opportunity presented are a good fit for the interviewee. Will they still be with your team in five years or will they quickly outgrow your department or company? This also provides a good opportunity to see a candidate's drive and how they can grow with the company.

  • Tell me about a favorite project you worked on and why it’s your favorite.Resumes offer a list of responsibilities and accomplishments. Answers to this question should reveal the story behind the bullet points, the passion for the project and the genuine interest for the work. 

  • What does leadership mean to you? This is a good opportunity to learn about the candidate's leadership style, especially for senior roles or when the candidate will be supervising others.  Answers will also provide good insight about candidate's expectation of their supervisors.

  • What questions can I answer for you? - This is the perfect way to “end” an interview as you turn the tables, engaging the talent to then interview you. Not only does it demonstrate your company’s appreciation for open dialogue, but also lets you know whether the potential job seeker is definitely interested. If they answer “no” – then they probably haven't done enough research on the product or company.

Do you have any tips or interview questions to share? Share with us on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter.


Job Interview Questions Designed to Make You Think

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Job interviews can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you really want the job. Your resume and cover letter were good enough to land the interview, but meeting face-to-face (or via Skype or Google Hangouts) is a whole other story. And nowadays, it’s not enough to ask the standard interview questions. In fact, many top companies ask their potential candidates an array of surprising and unfamiliar questions to help get your creative juices flowing and see how you respond on the fly to thinking analytically and developing solutions. It’s a chance for you to loosen up, relax, and show the interviewer the real you.

We’ve put together a list of real-life interview questions from top companies around the world courtesy of Glassdoor and beyond, from companies including Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Intel, and Trader Joe’s. Try practicing answers to questions like these, and see what fun answers you come up with on your own!

  • If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Choose a city and estimate how many piano tuners operate a business there.
  • If you could be remembered for one sentence, what would it be?
  • Why are manhole covers round?
  • Design an evacuation plan for this building.
  • How many Big Macs does McDonald’s sell each year in the U.S.?
  • 25 racehorses, no stopwatch. 5 tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.
  • How much do you charge to wash every window in Seattle?
  • If I was talking to your best friend, what is the one thing they would you say you need to work on?
  • How many children are born every day?
  • If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?
  • How would you breakdown the cost of this pen?
  • If you have 2 eggs, and you want to figure out what’s the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it? What’s the optimal solution?
  • How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?
  • Design a spice rack for the blind.
  • What do you think of garden gnomes?
  • You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Image by Meilun.

Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.

Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

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6 Not-As-Common Interview Prep Tips

Wednesday, June 22, 2016



We know the things you have to do for every job interview (dress appropriately). And we know the things you should never do in an interview (don’t be late!). But what are ways to go above and beyond? Read these six interview tips to prepare for the next (and possibly biggest) interview:

1. Research the company’s blog posts. Let’s say you have an interview with a well-known tech company. And let’s say they ask you pointed questions about the company. You could name drop a product, or you could mention something specific you read, like how much you love that they won a humanitarian award. Neither is a wrong approach, but talking in specifics shows you’ve done your research. And doing your research shows you actually care about the position and the company.

2. Schedule your interview for… Tuesday at 10:30am. According to Glassdoor, this is the ideal time to have your interview. It’s great because it’s not bookended by the weekend, it’s not around lunch, and it’s after everyone’s had a chance to have their coffee and perk up. However, if the job needs to be filled fast, take the soonest available slot.

3. Answer the weird questions. Some companies are famous for asking out-of-left-field, oddball interview questions. This is done to test how you think on your feet, but it can really throw you off your game if you don’t have something in mind. Figure out what you would say if you were asked…

How would you double $1,000 in 24 hours?
What would the name of your debut album be?
How many basketballs would fit in this room?


4. Who tells your story? Many interviewers start by asking about yourself, or for you to walk them through your work experience. Craft a story statement that stands out. What influenced you in your childhood to make you work in advertising? Why did your last job inspire this specific design? Make sure your story includes a bit about your life before work, why you do what you do, and how you want to make an impact in your current field.

5. Psych yourself up. You might get nervous before an interview, so find ways to get amped like athletes do before games or actors do before shows. Listen to a great playlist of take-on-the-world songs. Primal scream in the car. Concentrate on the emotional -- what do your friends and family believe in you? Whatever works for you!

6. Be bold! This is a very gutsy move, but it can work. Before your interview ends, ask this: Is there anything you feel is missing from my background or resume that I may be able to expand on? If you ask honestly, it shows you’re self-assured, passionate, optimistic, and willing to take a risk, which are all highly regarded qualities in any employee. It also gives the interviewer an opportunity to clarify anything they like. Remember, fortune favors the bold!

Get more interview tips by subscribing to the RSS feed on our blog or following us on Twitter -- and check out our open job listings for new and exciting freelance and full-time creative careers!


How to Build a Creative Team

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What’s the secret to building a great creative team? It’s a combination of professional skills, creativity, diverse personalities, strong communication skills, collaboration, and a good leader.

When bringing together a creative team, start by with expertise and core competency. You’ll want a team that has:

  • A big picture strategic thinker who asks “why” questions and looks beyond the short term

  • A tactical person who can execute the “why” into a “here’s how” plan, complete with deadlines, resources, and budget requirements

  • A person who can communicate the message and connect your big idea to your audience

  • A person to keep everyone else accountable, and keep the project on track

  • A copywriter or content manager, who can distill ideas into their essence and put it into impactful words for your audience

  • Someone who to present your ideas visually through compelling design and imagery

  • A leader who can manage and motivate the team to accomplish the company’s long-term goals

These additional questions are key to building a successfully aligned and productive creative team:

  • Does your team have the technical skills and expertise?

  • Do you have the flexibility to staff up or down?

  • Is your team productive and efficient?

  • Are they passionate and creative?

  • Are targeted deadlines and goals clearly defined?

  • Is team leadership clearly communicating objectives to inspire greatness?

If you’re looking to build to add to your creative team on a short-term or long term basis, Artisan Creative is here.  Let us know how we can help.


How Interviewers Can Find the Best Candidates During the Interview Process

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

best-candidates-interviews

One of the big responsibilities of recruiters is helping our amazing prospective candidates prepare for interviews. We’ve sent hundreds of wonderful candidates out on thousands of interviews, and we have to say, we’re experts on what helps make a great interview. If you’re in charge of hiring, the following tips on conducting an interview can be of benefit to find the perfect candidate for your company:

Prepare your questions in advance. Whatever the position, make sure you know ahead of time what you’re going to ask them. How would you best describe the role’s day-to-day needs? How will you review the team structure, reporting structure and company culture and values?

Ask open-ended questions. Ask questions that start with “why” or “how” to allow candidates to put into their own words what they think or feel. For instance, “How did you handle a crisis?” or “Why is a strong team environment important to you” will let them tell their story. Therefore, you’ll get to know them better!

Hone in your listening skills. This might seem obvious, but active listening is absolutely necessary to getting all the info you need. Pay attention to more than their words. What does their body language and tone say? You can learn a lot about whether you think a candidate is truly a good fit or if you think they’re just saying what they think you want to hear.

Keep it positive. Even if the role is challenging, or the company is in a transitional stage, it’s best to upfront yet keep the tone of the interview positive and informative.

Don’t let time slip away. Always leave time during an interview so the candidate can ask questions about the role and company. You’ll be able to find out what’s important just by giving them the opportunity to ask.

Know what comes next. If an interview goes well, let them know! Tell them about the current interview process and how it’s going, as well as whether you need to set up a second interview with other hiring managers or team members. They could be entertaining multiple offers, but if they know you’re interested, it could seal the deal.

Remember -- a good recruiter can help you find the perfect candidates to interview, and a good interviewer can assess who’s the right candidate for the job, but a great hire can truly make a successful team thrive!


Does a Huddle Help?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Does a Huddle Help?


 

Several years ago when we took our company virtual, we were initially concerned with losing that face to face connection. For a small company back in 2009, IM, dial in conference calls, and Skype were the tools we had access to. Knowing the importance of keeping our personal connections dynamic, we tried a lot of different communication tools over the years, and settled on Zoom, and we still use IM for the quick inquiries. So while the distances between our team members was a lot farther than the offices we used to occupy, the concept of daily short huddles and 3x a week more in depth huddles, remained intact.


The above image was taken at a sports event using teenage volunteers. One can easily differentiate between those that are paying attention, vs. those that had other things, (such as lunch) on their minds. Even in face to face huddles, distractions are commonplace.

Earlier this week, while waiting for my turn to go through the airport body scanner at 5:00 am, I looked over to my right and saw a TSA group doing their morning huddle. I’m sure they’ve done hundreds of these on a regular basis, yet you could sense that each one knew this huddle was important. Somehow I didn't think I should photograph this group.

What I took away from observing these two huddles:

    Huddles create connection
    All teams use them in some form
    They allow the leader to set the tone
    Huddles create a quick forum to review the plan for the day/event/competition
    Huddles block out noise and help bring focus inward to what the leader/coach is saying

During your huddles:

    Create a pulse check, are they present or not
    Ask what each person will do next to bring the team closer to goal
    Have an accountability check-in
    Just a few minutes is all that’s needed

Post event huddles

    Allow the team to redirect and recalibrate
    Ask what worked and what didn't for that day
    Set the expectations for the next one

How do you huddle with your teams? What tools do you use? Can you share a success with huddles you’ve participated in?

 

Jamie Douraghy - Founder at Artisan Creative


Goal Setting: 10 Best Practices for Setting Goals

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Goal Setting: 10 Best Practices for Setting Goals

 

Around this time of year, people start reflecting on the previous months and begin setting goals (and resolutions) for the coming year.

I’ve also always done this until a recent event changed my perspective completely.  It happened by chance on my birthday at the 180th Meridian, the international date line.  In a split second I was simultaneously standing in today and yesterday.  Quite amazing, however, it made me realize that a date is just an arbitrary number -- a line literally drawn on a map.

As I reflected on a new “birth year”, it made me realize that “start dates” can be counter-productive when it comes to setting goals and resolutions. Why wait until an arbitrary date in the future like Jan 1, or next week, or even tomorrow to make a change that will be impactful in your life or in your career?

Why wait to plan that once-in a-lifetime trip, why wait to plan your financial future, why wait to get healthy and fit?  All goals will require time and action steps to accomplish, so why delay the start until sometime in the future?

As human beings, we fall into a second trap of mistaking our daily to-do lists with our goals.  We often set too many goals and try to change too many things at once—and then we get busy with life and only accomplish a few of them.   Once we get busy, it’s easy to lose focus, and have the day-to-day to-dos of work, kids, school etc. take over the goals we want to accomplish.  How many times have we all said, “ I don’t have time to go to the gym”, or “I don’t have time to go on vacation!”

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly and unapologetically— to say “no” to other things.” -Stephen Covey

Here are 10 Best Practices for setting goals that I have learned:

1)     Set only one or two (maximum) Key Goals you want to accomplish in a certain period of time
2)     Write down your goal and WHY is it important for you to accomplish this goal
3)     What do you need to STOP doing in order to accomplish this goal?
4)     Set a specific timeframe & metrics needed to accomplish the goal
5)     Work backwards from the date above and calendar the steps below
6)     Set the specific, actionable and controllable steps needed to reach that goal
7)     Ask yourself, am I in control of these action steps, or are they dependent on someone else? If so, change your action steps because you can’t let someone else control your goal, or plan an accountability metric and share it with that person
8)     Set check points along the way to track your progress
9)     Share your goals and action items with someone else and engage them as your accountability partner
10) 
Don’t wait…Start today!

Without specific mini steps along the way, the goal has the danger of becoming just a wish.

 Katty Douraghy - President at Artisan Creative

 


9 Tech Gadgets to Spruce Up Your Work Desk

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

9 Tech Gadgets to Spruce Up Your Work Desk

 

The majority of us spend a good chunk of our 8 hour workday sitting at our desk crunching numbers, writing emails, and staring at the screen.  With so much time spent in one spot, why not deck it out with some cool desk gadgets to help spruce up the livelihood of your workspace?

Check out these 9 fun and (mostly) useful tech gadgets to add to your work desk!

Android Humidifier
With the dry winter air just around the corner, you'll want this handy dandy guy around to keep your nose breathing right.  Say Hello to the Android Humidifier and your newest desk buddy!  One fully loaded humidifier works for 10 hours without a mechanical drive, no noise or pollution and low energy consumption.  Bonus plus? Rotate his arms up and it will be like he's cheering you on all day.

Cable Clips
If your desk looks anything like ours, it most likely has a web of wires collecting on the floor waiting for you to untangle when you happen to need one.  Guess what?  There's a very simple solution and extremely affordable fix for that! These adhesive colorful cable clips help keep all your wires organized and ready to use at a moment's notice.  

Desk Cycle
Looking for a way to burn calories and improve your mood while at your desk? You might want to invest in a DeskCycle.  Specifically designed to be used in the work environment with its smooth and quiet operation, this convenient equipment is a great workout alternative for those busy work days where you just can't escape to the gym.

Digital Smart Pen
If you find yourself furiously jotting down every word at meetings or during phone calls, this pen may be the perfect solution.  Livescribe's Echo Smartpen records everything you write and hear, replays your meetings for later review, searches for words within notes, and much more allowing you to actually be present and focused on the meeting at hand.  With Wi-Fi accessibility, this is truly note taking of the 21st Century!

Laser Projection Keyboard
Is there anything wrong with your existing keyboard? Probably not, but how much cooler would your desk look with one of these laser projection virtual keyboards! Compatible with your smart phone, tablet or laptop, this device projects a virtual keyboard onto your flat desk surface through Bluetooth technology allowing for not only more space but a futuristic desk sure to turn a few heads.

Play More Notepad
What this next must-have desk item lacks in tech points, it makes up for in creative inner child glory.  Notepad paper that looks like a sports ball when crumbled up is just pure genius and an awesome way to add some fun into your workspace.  Turn your next brainstorming session into a friendly ball game!

iPhone Handset
Add some retro fun to your desk with this cell phone handset.  Compatible with most phones and tablets, this accessory is both functional, charming and perfect for those who use their cell phone as their main work phone, too. 

Mug Warmer
Keep your cup of coffee or tea warm throughout the day with this small desk size mug warmer.  With a convenient on / off switch, you can enjoy a warm cup of your favorite pick me up any time of the day.  Similarly, run a quick search and you can find a beverage chiller to keep your favorite refreshers cool all day as well.

Office Putty
We can name a handful of things on your desk that are a magnet for dust and small debris.  This cool Cyber Clean Putty squeezes into the most stubborn and small crevices to pull out last week's bagel crumbs and office dog hair to reveal a clean and spotless desk.

Jen Huynh - Recruiter  Artisan Creative

 


Vacation Planning Best Practices

Tuesday, September 09, 2014



We asked our team to share their pre- and post-trip planning process.  Even though the summer holiday season is over, we hope the following tips help you plan for any time away from the office.

 Vacation Planning Best Practices

  1. Be Proactive. Contact clients and key stakeholders a few weeks ahead of time to let them know of your upcoming vacation schedule.  This will give everyone an opportunity to address any project needs and plan accordingly.

  2.  Status updates. If you are mid-project, or have direct reports, make it a point to meet with your team before leaving and within a day upon your return for status updates.

  3. Prioritize & Delegate. Create a step-by-step process of all pending projects.  Prioritize for your team and clearly assign tasks that require a follow-up.  Tools like Basecamp make it easy to keeps track of the communication and makes it easy to get caught up when you get back.

  4. OOO. Set your out of office response with the names and contact info of colleagues who will be supporting you while you are away.  This alleviates frustration and any lag time for urgent needs.

  5.  Inbox planning. Use Rules and Filters to manage your inbox while you are away. Unsubscribe from non-essentials newsletters and notifications or direct them to a specific folder.

  6. Minimize travel day stress. Pack your bags, print out travel itineraries and make sure you're ready a few days prior to travel so your last working day isn't affected by any pre travel stress.

  7. Plan your first day back to work before you leave so your expectations are set beforehand.  Have your to-do list ready to go!

  8. Tidy your desk & desktop.  Coming back to paper or digital clutter is no fun.

  9. Your body and mind need time to recharge. Trust your team to handle urgent issues while you are away.

  10.  Have Fun!

Artisan Creative Team


The Savant

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Savant

Whether you’re a hiring manager, a recruiter or simply tasked with hiring new talent, there are various conclusions that we draw in order to determine if someone should be hired for a particular position. Do they have the relevant qualifications? Are they the right cultural fit? Can they lead a team or take direction from a higher authority? It’s important to understand different personality types so that management styles can be tailored in order to get the best out of the person or if you simply just want to hire more people exactly like them.

Artisan recently read some research published by SoftwareAdvice.com discussing the personality traits of people most likely to succeed in the creative industry and it got us thinking about how their conclusions relate to our candidates, our clients and ourselves. It’s become somewhat fashionable in 2013 to discuss the pros and cons of introverts vs. extroverts, but by looking past the basics, we can begin to understand different personalities and how to utilize this information to our advantage.

Savant is French for “knowing,” which explains why The Savant personality type is a sought-after person within the creative industry. They tend to be incredibly skilled, yet really home in on just a few specialized subjects. Savants are fantastically creative and brilliant, but may struggle with basic math and feel out of place in social situations. By nature, they’re introverted and creatures of habit, often spending hours working independently on a project.



How Do I Identify and Work with The Savant?
  • Establish rapport--Put them at ease. Make them feel comfortable whether in a job interview or a work environment. 
  • Lead the conversation--Ask direct questions about their skills and achievements rather than questions about themselves.
  • Test them--If they’re a developer or a writer, put them to the test and see them flourish.
  • Give praise--The Savant type can grow bored when not pushed or excited about their work but when they do find something they love, they are often their own worst critic. Be sure to show support for their efforts.
Next time you’re hiring new talent or going through an interview process yourself, take some time to understand and recognize personality types. Look out for telltale traits and tailor the surroundings to fit. If you’re a Savant type yourself, focus on your best talents and see just how far you can push your creative potential.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition



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